I’ve been reading the first chapter of a book that’s just been published (last month), Buying Social Justice: Equality, Government Procurement and Legal Change. The author is Prof. Christopher McCrudden and the publisher is OUP (complete with their distinctive typesetting that makes even a new book look venerable and moderately ancient!). The book, as the title indicates, tackles the question of how governments can, do and should use their role as purchaser of goods and services to achieve certain goals (social, geopolitical, etc). (For those veterans of student politics in my world, I’m sure memories of lengthy debates on student-run shops refusing to buy from company X are flooding back straight away – but don’t let that put you off!) So we’re talking about things like minority setaside contracts, disability/accessibility standards, boycotts, gender targets, EU procurement rules, sustainability/ethical tradigin, and a whole lot more. (McCrudden is, as I read it, disagreeing with the critics (legal and economic) of socially aware procurement policies, and indeed arguing that they can have an impact, although I’m sure I’m simplifying far too much).

The author is giving a talk on the topic at the Said Business School in Oxford this week, too.

And here, as promised, via SSRN, is the first chapter .